Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exonyms ddibwynt

I tweeted so prolifically yesterday that even the most inobservant of you probably know that I was on a train through Wales.  Some of you are probably already on the edge of your seat in anticipation of my latest train-related blog post.

Please control your excitement, however.  I regret to inform you that there are no tales of romance.  There isn’t even much of a rant, having instead added my frustrations to the cloud of annoyance with Arriva Trains Wales which is already present on Twitter. There isn’t, if I am honest, much to say about trains, either.

Still, my story begins with me sat on a station platform, where I was waiting for a connection.  I was watching the electronic sign list the stops for the next train:

Filton Abbey Wood

Bristol

Bath Spa

Bradford-Upon Avon

Westbury

Salisbury

Southampton Central

Admittedly this was probably only marginally more interesting than watching paint dry, but please bear with me.  As the place names scrolled across in front of me, the computerised announcer then also decided to read them out.

“Filton Abbey Wood,” he said, “Bristol Temple Meads, Caerfaddon, Bradford-Upon-Avon, … Westbury … Caersallog … Southampton Central … “

It was as though he had a cough.  Or a speech impediment. But how hard is it to say “Bath Spa?”

I’m sure that it’s of great historical importance that the Welsh language has some exonyms.  But even the most ardent of Welsh speakers must surely know that there is a place called “Salisbury” (that or they’ve never crossed the border, in which case it’s irrelevant anyway). 

Don’t get me wrong, I am actually a big fan of the Welsh language, and the fact that it has not been allowed to die out.  It just seems a bit incongruous (and a little bit comical) that Arriva can’t afford proper trains, but someone has to pay for information to be given in Welsh.  And presumably for someone to stand on the platform to reassure concerned passengers that the train does still stop in Bath…

1 comment:

Tim said...

Ha, you did tickle me with "Arriva can't afford proper trains"! I shared your views entirely until one cold morning last week when mother and I were disembarking at Cardiff Central, looking forward to a day of shopping. As we miserably left the cold discomfort of our ATW British Rail Class 143 Pacer (the type of non-decent train I think you were talking of?) imagine my surprise when I spotted, there in the steamy Welsh morning mist, a British Rail Class 175 Coradia in ATW colours! Now, having completed a journey on a North West Coradia, I assure you there are more comfortable ways to travel, but surely, these mark a huge step up for ATW? Or am I just being one of those slightly crazy people who tend to linger around stations? Whatever, I have marked myself as a bit of a train spotter! ;)